For the first time in human history, a volcanic hyper eruption blows through the surface of the Earth. A bad day for Planet Earth as the disastrous results threatens the very future of mankind.
Four and a half billion years ago, the young Earth was a hellish place—a seething chaos of meteorite impacts, volcanoes belching noxious gases, and lightning flashing through a thin, torrid atmosphere. Then, in a process that has puzzled scientists for decades, life emerged. But how? NOVA joins mineralogist Robert Hazen as he journeys around the globe. From an ancient Moroccan market to the Australian Outback, he advances a startling and counterintuitive idea—that the rocks beneath our feet were not only essential to jump-starting life, but that microbial life helped give birth to hundreds of minerals we know and depend on today. It's a theory of the co-evolution of Earth and life that is reshaping the grand-narrative of our planet’s story.
Venture into the danger zone of two volcanic craters posing widely divergent threats. Hawaii's Kilauea is a shield volcano that threatens communities with its slow-but-relentless lava flow, while the Sumatran Sinabung is a stratovolcano delivering carnage via a sudden and explosive surge of superheated gas and rock.
As winter approaches, field teams are finishing up their science for the season. It's the last chance to obtain information for their research on the frozen continent. As most people are preparing to leave, a container ship is on its way in to supply food and materials to the skeleton crew that remains during the cold, dark winter months.